‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ opens MCT 40th anniversary season
Published 10:29 am Thursday, November 6, 2014
Matchbox Children’s Theatre is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and it’s bringing Christmas spirit to help.
The theater group will perform “’Twas the Night before Christmas” at 7 p.m. Friday, and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the Historic Paramount Theatre at 125 Fourth Ave NE in Austin.
“I think that [the kids will] get a feeling of the spirit of Christmas, the spirit of the holiday season and the joy that it can bring,” Director Jerry Girton said. “The weather is kind of turning, so it kind of gets us in the holiday spirit as well.”
Email newsletter signup
The musical will launch the 40th Anniversary season of Austin’s Matchbox Children’s Theatre. The plot is an imaginative look at how the classic poem by Clement C. Moore might have been inspired, casting children as sugar plums and toys, and adult cast members as Saint Nicholas and the the poet, Moore.
“It’s a good kickoff to the holiday season; it’s family friendly,” Girton said. “It’s a very nice story about how the poem was actually written.”
Girton has directed several Matchbox performances in the past, along with other plays when he was theater director at Riverland Community College. He is excited to be working with music director Coni Nelson. Some of the adults with lead roles in the play include Randy Forster, John Deyo, Carrie Braaten and Alice Holst.
The play will feature several different songs by the children, adults and a handful of choir members.
“[Nelson] works so well with these kids,” Girton said. “You’ll be amazed at the sound that these young kids make.”
Girton is excited for the upcoming show, and he said the cast is also excited.
“The kids are all having a great time,” he said. “It’s very exciting to see young kids grasp onto a love of theater, and it’s such a confidence builder.”
“’Twas the Night Before Christmas” playwright and lyricist, Jennifer Kirkeby and composer Shirley Mier will also visit Austin to see the play and do a question and answer session with the audience right after the Sunday show.
They are both Minnesota artists who live in the Twin Cities area.
“It’s amazing how many of these little kids say, ‘I’ve written a play,’ and then they’ll get to meet the people who actually wrote the words that they’re singing and saying,” Girton said. “That’s pretty exciting.”
Girton is excited Matchbox has hit its 40th anniversary, and said many of the parents bringing their children to see or perform in the show, watched Matchbox performances when they were in elementary school themselves.
“That’s kind of a neat tradition for Austin to have,” he said.
Tickets are available online at austinareaarts.org and will be sold at the door. Prices are $7 for adults, $5 for children ages 14 and younger, and ages 2 and under are free.
The play runs about one hour and 10 minutes. Contact the MCT office for more details by emailing email@example.com, or call 507-437-9078. For more information, visit the website at matchboxchildrenstheatre.org.